High-reach excavators have widely replaced the wrecking ball in building demolition. Portland, Oregon to Portland, Maine, excavators are beloved by demolition companies. Why? Because they’re far more accurate and safe than the wrecking balls of yesteryear. Our triple-boom long stick excavators can reach up to 82 feet, straight up if needed, to take down the upper stories of buildings. We use multiple attachments, such as grapples and crushers, to facilitate precise demolition, even at height.
How Excavators are used in Demolition and Construction
–Moving materials (such as concrete chunks and scrap metal) to be sorted for recycling.
–Lifting and lowering objects on the job site.
–Crushing and removing building components (through special attachments).
Excavator Safety Tips from Portland Demolition Experts
Inspect Regularly. Those who use the excavator must be able to identify its major parts, and they must know how to inspect it for any problems. It is best to have a formal inspection document in place, so as to ensure consistent, thorough inspections. Your inspection checklist could include a line for each major part, as well as basic engine checkpoints such as engine oil levels, belt tension, and hose leaks. Each part will have its own inspection requirements. For instance, the car body and rotation bearing should be checked for cracks and bearing wear. Be sure to check safety mechanisms including the safety belt, lights, breaks, and the fire extinguisher. And, of course, you’ll need to check that controls are working as intended. Ideally, this inspection should be conducted prior to the beginning of each shift.
Make Sure Warning Labels are Legible. Most excavators’ warning labels are color coded according to the level of danger: red indicates extreme danger that could result in death, orange signifies medium danger that could result in serious injury, and yellow is used for potential hazard that could result in minor or moderate injury. These labels are useless if they cannot be read, so it’s important to immediately replace labels as needed.
Keep Proper Operator Instructions: Label Controls and Have Operation Manual at Hand. Within the cab, the controls should be labeled with their function and direction of movement. The operation manual must be kept within the operator’s reach. It cannot be kept in the office or job shack. It is imperative for each operator to read and thoroughly understand the operation manual prior to using the excavator.
When Entering and Exiting the Excavator, Face the Machine. Follow the rock climber’s approach: have three points of contact when climbing in and out of the excavator. One should always be facing the excavator, for maximum stability and control. Ankle and back injuries can be prevented through careful entry and exit. Never jump out of the cab, and make sure boots are clean and free of grease to prevent slips.
Be Aware of Working Conditions. Awareness is crucial when operating demolition machinery. Stress, fatigue, hunger, extreme weather, physical ailments, and surrounding workers can cause operators to lose their focus. It is the responsibility of the operator and surrounding workers to take care of themselves as well as fellow contractors. Even cold medicines can impair focus.
Watch What You Wear. Operators should not wear loose clothing or jewelry. Personal protective equipment should be in place at all times.
Follow Weight, Height, Width, and Load Restrictions. The operation manual will specify allowable operator measurements. It will also indicate the maximum allowable workload for the machine.
Train all Workers in Excavator Safety. Even if they’re not operating the excavator, workers must consider it a continual safety hazard. It’s important to always work facing the excavator; never assume the operator can see you. Stay clear of the danger zone within the reach of the boom and stick (sometimes called a “dipper”). Use hand signals to communicate with the operator; there are specific hand signals for stopping, emergency stopping, bringing the load up and down, closing and opening the bucket, raising and lowering the bucket, and more.
These are only a few of the many safety precautions when using an excavator on a job site. Trenching, ascending and descending slopes, lifting and lowering objects, and excavator transportation each have their own list of safety precautions.